Sunday, June 14, 2009

Controversy #2

Yep...the series of sermons preached by Boyd... that birthed his book, Myth of a Christian Nation, caused quite the uproar in his church.  So much so that 20%....or about a thousand people....up and left...and as one article I read worded it...."took their tithes with them."  I found quite a few articles on the internet that discuss the controversy that took place back in 2004ish but following are some excerpts from a book review I came across on the web....written by someone named George West.  This, along with a few quotes from Boyd at the end of this post ....should give you the gist of the book...and the firestorm that followed....described by Boyd as similar to "poking a stick in a hornet’s nest"

Mr. Boyd’s thesis focuses primarily on making distinctions between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world.

The kingdom that Jesus came to establish, Mr. Boyd argues, is not of this world (John 18:36); it operates differently than governments of the world do. The kingdom of Jesus has no geographical boundaries, nor devotion to any particular ethnic group or nationality.
Mr. Boyd contrasts two kingdoms: the kingdom of the world that acquires and exercises “power over” others; and the kingdom of God, incarnated and modeled in the person of Jesus Christ, advanced only by exercising “power under” others; for example, self-sacrificial and Calvary-like love.The kingdom of the world is the kingdom of the sword; the kingdom of God is the kingdom of the cross. This kingdom transforms people from the inside out; the kingdom of the sword rules over others using force to govern behavior.
Mr. Boyd cites the power of the ethic of love — as exemplified by the life and teaching of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. — as the way to break the cycle of hate and violence in our world.

The kingdom of God, as taught by Jesus, is very demanding and antithetical to the views of the world, in that it calls for us to “Love those who hate and despitefully use us.”

He also acknowledges some ambiguity and struggles with some very difficult questions one faces when applying the teachings of Jesus in our world. Some of those questions relate to Christians and violence; for example, self-defense and the protection of one’s family, Christians in the military, wars with positive outcomes, Christianity and passivity, and helping the oppressed by overthrowing the oppressors.
He shares his honest struggles with these questions, seeking to provide answers from his understanding of scripture; while empathizing with those who, like he, wrestle with these questions

In another article...on the Christianity Today blog, Out of Ur,  he says:

For some evangelicals, the kingdom of God is largely about, if not centered on, “taking America back for God,” voting for the Christian candidate, outlawing abortion, outlawing gay marriage, winning the culture war, defending political freedom at home and abroad, keeping the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, fighting for prayer in the public schools and at public events, and fighting to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings.
I believe that this perspective is misguided, that fusing together the kingdom of God with this or any other version of the kingdom of the world is idolatrous and that this fusion is having serious negative consequences for Christ’s church and for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
I do not argue that those political positions are either wrong or right. Nor do I argue that Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics. While people whose faith has been politicized may well interpret me along such lines, I assure you that this is not what I’m saying. The issue is far more fundamental than how we should vote or participate in government. Rather, I want to challenge the assumption that finding the right political path has anything to do with advancing the kingdom of God.



Anonymous said...

Hi Cindi, I heard of your blog at allspirit and I enjoy it. The two kingdom view is nothing new - long a part of anabaptist (Amish-Mennonite) thinking along with the same kind of questions about participating in government/military.


Cindi said...

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I, by no means, have my beliefs figured out as far as violence and nonviolence. So many really difficult questions to answer. Feel free to pipe up anytime you feel like it....